I am who I am because of who we all are. – Leymah Gbowee
When I was coming up, Sunday morning was for worship, and Sunday afternoon meant dinner at my grandparent’s house with aunts, uncles, and cousins. These days, many of us live in places where our closest relative is a plane ride away. Yet, as journalist Jane Howard said, “Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family. Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one.”
During Jesus’ ministry, he redefined family for those who were alone, and those who were far from home. He said, “’Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?’ Pointing to his disciples, he said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers!’ (Matthew 12:48-49) Blood relations may not be nearby, but disciples had what they needed in one another.
Later, Paul continued to gather communities, reminding the Ephesians, “There is one body…” More recently, Archbishop Desmond Tutu challenged God’s people, the whole human family, saying, “We think of ourselves far too frequently as just individuals, separated from one another, whereas you are connected and what you do affects the whole World. When you do well, it spreads out; it is for the whole of humanity.”
As we approach the holiday season, we’ll gather friends and family around tables, turkeys and trees. We’ll celebrate our common heritage and hope. We’ll give thanks for new relationships and lament our former connections to each other. And as a congregation of disciples in Center Moriches, we’ll meet, serve and worship together, blessed, that in all we do, strangers become friends, and friends become our families.